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Should You Use a Pacifier?

Whenever you ask this question, youíll inevitably find moms on both sides of the fence over this issue. Many people feel very strongly against using pacifiers, while other parents strongly recommend them. Some parents have used a pacifier for one child and not another, and still others havenít had the choice Ė their baby wonít take one. So what are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using a pacifier? Once you know both sides of the issue, you can make your own educated decision.

The Advantages

Soothing Ė This is, of course, one of the main reasons parents let their baby use a pacifier. Some babies are very hard to soothe and a pacifier will often help the baby learn to soothe itself SIDS Risk Ė In 2005, the American Academy of Pediatrics released the results of a study showing that the use of pacifiers can reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The study results state that babies that used a pacifier at night while sleeping had a 93% less chance of dying from SIDS. However, the report doesnít offer an explanation for these findings. Some researchers believe that the pacifier will make a sort of tent around the babyís nose and mouth that isnít there if their face is covered with bedding. Others believe that it helps define some brain function that helps the baby wake up when it stops breathing. Whatever the cause for the study findings, itís now generally accepted that using a pacifier reduces the risk of SIDS. Easier to Break than Thumbsucking Ė Some parents find that a child that used a pacifier is easier to break from the habit than those that sucked their thumbs. Of course, this hasnít been scientifically proven by research studies, and your results will depend on your child.

The Disadvantages

Itís Habit Forming Ė One of the main concerns parents have with pacifiers is that they may not be able to break their baby from needing the pacifier in order to settle down or get to sleep. While this may be true for the first year or so, there are very few children today to start school and still require a pacifier!

Harm to the Teeth Ė Most dentists agree that a pacifier can cause cavities, crooked teeth, and gum recession. This is especially true when a child uses a pacifier all through the day and night. These problems are also common when the pacifier is dipped in sugar water to help the child take it. If you do use a pacifier, limit your childís time with it and donít force the issue if he or she doesnít want to take the pacifier.

Breastfeeding Problems Ė If youíre breastfeeding, your baby may have a difficult time latching on to the breast due to the differences between a nipple and a pacifier. In fact, many doctors recommend that new parents not use a pacifier for a breastfeeding baby until the baby is a month or two old.

Clearly, there are some important pros and cons to consider when it comes to using a pacifier. Itís your choice in the long run, and simply being informed may be all you need to know to make the decision thatís best for you and your baby.

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